The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, yesterday began a series of meetings with management of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and electricity distribution companies (Discos) on some knotty issues affecting the nation’s power sector.
The closed-door meeting it was learnt delved on improved power supply, debt owed the Discos by ministries, departments and agencies of government, access to funds to finance operations and expansion, tariff review and a whole lot more.
A stakeholder simply described it as a ‘happy meeting.’
The Discos had recently called attention to the need to privatise the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
Director of Research and Advocacy for the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Barrister Sunday Olurotimi Oduntan, made the assertion in a brief interview with The Guardian.
“The power sector expects Fashola to sort out the problem with TCN,” he said.
He also stressed the need for the Minister to lead the campaign for a cost-reflective tariff.
In a related development, National Coordinator of Human rights Writers association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Emmanuel Onwubiko, has faulted renewal of the management contract with Manitoba Hydro International for the management of the TCN.
Onwubiko told The Guardian that the renewal was done in error, as Manitoba had allegedly being ‘milking Nigeria dry’, instead of effectively executing its assignment.
“This government erred by extending the contract of the so called Canadian power firm Manitoba that milks Nigeria dry through the Transmission Company of Nigeria when it is clear that the promoters are only interested in committing capital flight out of Nigeria and have so far not added any value to the power supply situation in Nigeria.”
This Canadian firm, Manitoba, has also not employed local hands in compliance with the national local content Act.
“This contract must be reviewed and annulled and the power privatisation exercise thoroughly reviewed to weed out rogue elements who bought at cheap rates Nigeria’s highly valued power plants. Enough of this impunity. if need be, let Nigeria hire forensic investigators to uncover the real masterminds of the power sector corruption if we are still pretending as if we don’t already know the facts behind the masks,” he stated.